Huel: Misleading advertisements from the Shake firm were banned

Huel merchandise

Huel meal replacement shake advertisements that implied consumers could reduce their food expenses have been banned for misleading consumers.

One Facebook advertisement during the rising cost of living crisis stated that "Huel helps keep money in your pockets.".

The Advertising Standards Authority noted that Huel failed to demonstrate that its products were less expensive than conventional foods.

The company, which has removed the ads, claimed that it took its duties as an advertiser very seriously.

Entrepreneurs Julian Hearn and James Collier created the company and gave it the name Huel by fusing the words "human" and "fuel.".

It asserts that its powders, when combined with water, offer "complete nutrition," are a nutritious substitution for regular meals, and can "help you lose, gain, or maintain weight.".

The business encourages its customers to refer to themselves as "Hueligans" and sponsors paid social media partnerships with fitness influencers.

Actor Idris Elba, broadcaster Jonathan Ross, and social media influencer Grace Beverley, the creator of the fitness brands Tala and Shreddy, announced their investment in the company in December.

In August and September 2022, a Huel Facebook advertisement stated that Huel "helps keep money in your pockets" and that a month's supply costs less than £50.

On the company's website, a second advertisement suggested that Huel could "save money on food.".

Actor Idris Elba
Idris Elba, an actor, has invested in Huel.

The ads were viewed as the financial crisis grew worse and people in the UK were being significantly impacted by rising energy and food prices as well as rising inflation, according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

According to the watchdog, Huel failed to make it sufficiently clear that the £50 claim was predicated on consuming one meal replacement per day.

According to the ASA, a typical woman would need to consume five Huel portions to meet her daily calorie needs.

A typical man would need to eat more food, which would cost about £350 per month.

Separately, the watchdog claimed Huel made unsubstantiated claims about being a "healthy option.".

Huel asserted that it did not consider the advertisements to be deceptive and expressed regret for "any confusion that may have been perceived by their ads.".

The £50 claim, it continued, was based on having 34 Huel meals per month at a cost of £1.15 per meal. Even though it was stated in a manner the ASA found unclear, this was mentioned in the ad's bottom text.

The company insisted that it had never stated that Huel shakes should take the place of all meals.

Separately, the charity Electrical Safety First complained to the ASA about advertisements for heating products that it claims are risky.

The ads claimed that the heaters could reduce energy costs in an effort to draw customers who were being squeezed by cost of living pressures.

The heaters with the names Keilini, HeatPal, and InstaHeat "posed a serious risk of electric shock, with mains plugs not meeting the necessary UK safety standards," according to Electrical Safety First.

Two of the heaters were reported to have plug pins that broke easily, and the Keilini-branded heater was reported to have an EU mains plug with an adaptor rather than a UK plug at all.

This was deemed inappropriate because there was no fuse, posing a fire risk.

According to the charity's chief executive, Lesley Rudd, it is "callous that these sellers are pushing dangerous products they know will be desired by struggling households during an energy crisis.".

The BBC contacted the businesses to request comments.

Additionally, a company sells patio heaters on the "Instaheat UK" website. This company claimed to be unrelated to the "Instaheat" portable heaters.

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